Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit to headline Gogue Center grand opening festival


Special to the
Opelika Observer

The Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center at Auburn University will present Grammy Award winners Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit as the headlining artists for a concert at the Amphitheatre at the City of Auburn Lawn and Porch on Aug. 23 at 8 p.m.
The outdoor concert, generously sponsored by the Auburn-Opelika Tourism Bureau, is part of a four-day Grand Opening Festival Aug. 22 to 25, celebrating the Gogue Center’s inaugural season. Tickets are $20 and are on sale to the general public by telephone at 334-844-TIXS and online at goguecentertickets.auburn.edu.
“Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit will provide a high-energy performance for patrons of all ages to attend,” said Gogue Performing Arts Center Director Amy Miller. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the university and the community to celebrate a highly accomplished Alabama artist—together, under the stars, in our incredible outdoor venue.”
Isbell’s Alabama roots run deep. The northwest Alabama native was born near Muscle Shoals in the town of Green Hill, where he was raised in a musical family. In 2001 at 22 years old, Isbell joined the alt-country band Drive-By Truckers as a guitarist and contributing songwriter. In 2007, Isbell embarked on an acclaimed solo career with his backing band, the 400 Unit, and has since released six studio albums to both critical and commercial success.
As a singer-songwriter, Isbell combines well-crafted, personal, heartfelt lyrics with elements of Southern rock, punk, country, blues and folk. His latest album, 2017’s “The Nashville Sound,” became one of his most popular and critically praised to date, winning the Grammy for Best Americana Album and the song “If We Were Vampires” receiving the Grammy for Best Americana Roots Song.
“In opening the Gogue Center, it was important to make sure we presented artists from Alabama,” said Gogue Performing Arts Center Executive Director Christopher Heacox. “Jason’s music is heavily influenced by his early life in Alabama, his family and personal experiences, and the music from Muscle Shoals.”
The Aug. 23 concert will be Isbell’s first appearance in Auburn since a September 2013 solo show at Standard Deluxe. He last played with the 400 Unit at the War Eagle Supper Club in 2007.
“We are thrilled that Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit are returning to Auburn after more than 12 years,” Heacox said.
Bluegrass and country folk musician Molly Tuttle will join Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit as the evening’s opening act. Tuttle is a guitar-picking phenom coming off back-to-back wins of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Guitar Player of the Year Award for 2017 and 2018. She is the first female artist in the IBMA’s history to receive the coveted honor.
The Gogue Center’s four-day grand opening festival will feature a different musical act each day. In addition to the Aug. 23 concert, scheduled performances and events include a free outdoor concert for Auburn University students, faculty and staff, hosted by the Auburn University Program Council on August 22; a black-tie Grand Opening Fête featuring performances by bel canto tenor Santiago Ballerini and Michael Feinstein and Friends on Aug. 24 and a free Community Day with local and regional performers Aug. 25.
The Aug. 25 festivities will conclude with a concert by the Robert Cray Band sponsored by Rabren General Contractors for workers who helped with the construction of the Gogue Center.
Gogue Center donors and sponsors who have not received an email regarding advance access to tickets should contact the box office by telephone at 334-844-TIXS.


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